Engen helps disabled artisans in KZN enter the workplace

Engen helps disabled artisans in KZN enter the workplace
Engen helps disabled artisans in KZN enter the workplace

Engen has partnered with the Disability Economic Empowerment Trust (DEET) to launch an artisan training programme for 100 people with disabilities that will assist them with the skills required to enter the job market. 

Training commenced in Kwazulu-Natal this month with the first group of 17 trainee beneficiaries working closely with the Department of Health and Disabled People SA. 

Engen and the DEET have worked together since 2019 on various initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality of life of persons with disabilities through the equalization of opportunities, poverty reduction, and promotion of social inclusion. 

The artisan training programme will afford the 100 persons with the opportunity to develop skills and competencies required to enter the workplace or even start their own business, enabling them to live a dignified life and contribute to the economy in a meaningful way.

Engen’s General Manager: Corporate Strategy and Communications, Khalid Latiff says the project will provide skills and competencies which the beneficiaries will be able to use throughout their lives either as employees or as entrepreneurs.  

The project is intended to improve the conditions and living standards of persons with disabilities, by providing participants with skills that they can use to earn a living,” says Latiff. 

The skills programme will run over a six-month period and will also include refresher training sessions. 

It is open to South African citizens under the age of 35 and aims to provide occupational qualifications and practical skills for 35 plumbers, 30 wheelchair repair persons and 35 carpenters across the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Northern Cape. 

Expressing his gratitude to Engen for their renewed support, CEO of the Disability Economic Empowerment Trust (DEET), Thabiso Phetuka says essential work skills and qualifications opens-up a whole host of new prospects for participants and guarantees sustainable livelihoods. 

“Our partnership with Engen provides hope to job seekers with disabilities and those who aspire to start their own businesses, who previously have been unsuccessful in securing a position, as a result of not having the necessary skills or confidence,” says Phetuka.

Engen’s continued commitment to DEET fulfills South Africa’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was signed in 2007, as well as the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disability that was approved by Cabinet in 2015 as part of domesticating the convention.  

“The rationale behind our drive to support persons with disabilities is not only about upholding the Constitutional principles of non-discrimination on the basis of disability but also to put tangible measures in place to support developmental interventions, so that people living with disabilities can become inclusive, contributing members of society,” adds Latiff. 

Disability inclusion is one of Engen’s key social investment focus areas, giving the company the opportunity to contribute towards inclusive disability rights in South Africa.  

As a company, Engen champions nine of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 4 – Quality Education, which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. 

“As a caring and inclusive company with ‘heart’, this aligns with Engen’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which endeavour to ensure a better and more sustainable future for all,” comments Latiff. 

In 2021, Engen partnered with DEET to launch a driver disability training programme for people with disabilities assisting 100 new drivers in five provinces with all the necessary requirements and skills needed to pass their learner’s and driver’s license and enter the job market.